Bucket v.s. conical v.s. unitank

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Yesfan

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I agree with pretty much all the posts above, so won't repeat what's already been said.

For me, the biggest reasons for getting my CF-10 was.......

fermenting double batches in a single vessel
harvesting yeast/dumping trub
I like stainless.

I've scaled back a lot of my stuff since some of you all were talking about age (I'm 51). Like what's been said, priorities change as you get older. Now I'm down to the CF-10, Spike+, and a Fermzilla All Rounder 30L. Sold the 8 tap keezer to "downgrade" to a 4 tap Komos kegerator. No more lifting kegs over the top of a chest freezer.

If you can afford the conical, then get it. Truth be told, I think I would have been as happy with a couple of the larger All Rounders for the double batches, but I still don't regret getting the CF-10. You only live once. I've been looking at more to stream line my process to make it easier for me to brew at 70 when (if?) I get there vs when I started in my early 40s. Adapt and overcome. Brew on.
 

OakIslandBrewery

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I agree with pretty much all the posts above, so won't repeat what's already been said.

For me, the biggest reasons for getting my CF-10 was.......

fermenting double batches in a single vessel
harvesting yeast/dumping trub
I like stainless.

I've scaled back a lot of my stuff since some of you all were talking about age (I'm 51). Like what's been said, priorities change as you get older. Now I'm down to the CF-10, Spike+, and a Fermzilla All Rounder 30L. Sold the 8 tap keezer to "downgrade" to a 4 tap Komos kegerator. No more lifting kegs over the top of a chest freezer.

If you can afford the conical, then get it. Truth be told, I think I would have been as happy with a couple of the larger All Rounders for the double batches, but I still don't regret getting the CF-10. You only live once. I've been looking at more to stream line my process to make it easier for me to brew at 70 when (if?) I get there vs when I started in my early 40s. Adapt and overcome. Brew on.
Yup, great to plan for the future, and a future that includes brewing!
 

Bobby_M

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The primary reason that I don't currently ferment in conicals is that I'm regularly brewing 6 gallon batches right now and more than half the time I choose to split that into two 3-gallon ferments to compare variables like yeast strain, temperature profiles, dry hop combos etc. I learn, take notes, share my findings and the beer with whoever listens and brew again. The rare cases where I bulk ferment 6 gallons for party beer or Hombrewcon doesn't really justify having the conical on hand. If I was more of a 10 gallon batcher, I'd be all over the CF15s.
 

WesBrew

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I don’t know if you could get 6g out of a CF5 but you could surely get 6g in. The CF5 =7 gallons total & CF10=14 gallons. Easier to push the upper limit on the CF10
 

Brooothru

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I don’t know if you could get 6g out of a CF5 but you could surely get 6g in. The CF5 =7 gallons total & CF10=14 gallons. Easier to push the upper limit on the CF10
Yesterday I did a pressure transfer (2 psi, max, from a 7 gallon SS Brew Bucket with domed lid) of a Key Lime cider into a 5 gallon keg. Pre-fermentation volume was 24L/6.3 gallons. The cider was still transferring clear when the keg topped out, so I continued transferring into a spare 1.6 gallon Torpedo keg. Unclear how much went into the mini keg, but there appeared to be maybe 2~3L settled solids in the Brew Bucket.

Granted, there's not much debris from a cider or wine fermentation compared to the hops and 'break' material you get from beer, let alone the krausen. But you could certainly get 5.5+ gallons out of a 7 gallon capacity fermenter.
 

WesBrew

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Sounds about right. It might be a little easier to do smaller batches on the smaller vessel. I did recently do a 1.5 gallon batch in the cf10. I could not use the sample port or cold crash it but it was a success
 

Yesfan

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Sounds about right. It might be a little easier to do smaller batches on the smaller vessel. I did recently do a 1.5 gallon batch in the cf10. I could not use the sample port or cold crash it but it was a success


1.5 gallons in a 10 gallon conical?? Talk about tons of head space. Impressive. How far up the conical did that batch go?
 

WesBrew

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Looks like just shy of the sample port.
 

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WesBrew

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Its 14 gallons to the top edge. I think the bottom part of the fermenters are the same so i got up there near the sample port. Level dropped a bit with a quick trub dump. i got 1.25g out of that. the thermowell is higher up so i measured ambient temp inside, but also tried taping probe near the bottom of the cone, wrapped with insulation. It was only .8F cooler. worked pretty well. Anyway....lots of things you can use to ferment good beer. This one is pretty fun to use.
 

Yesfan

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Its 14 gallons to the top edge. I think the bottom part of the fermenters are the same so i got up there near the sample port. Level dropped a bit with a quick trub dump. i got 1.25g out of that. the thermowell is higher up so i measured ambient temp inside, but also tried taping probe near the bottom of the cone, wrapped with insulation. It was only .8F cooler. worked pretty well. Anyway....lots of things you can use to ferment good beer. This one is pretty fun to use.

I have a sight glass on mine so with it and the elbow, the gallon markings are a quart off. Eh, I always try to add a bit more extra anyway for sampling.
 

renstyle

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Someone was posting about 6 gallon torpedo kegs the other day... I am considering picking up (2) of them when I scale to ten gallon batches. I see them as easier to handle and compatible with my fermentation chamber. I could harvest yeast from them too and I don't worry about fancy dry hop rigs.

I've got a pair, and they work a treat! On mine the top weld line is almost exactly 21L/5.6gal, leaving plenty of headspace. Each keg can fill a standard 5gal corny keg to the gas post if you plan it right.
 

Yesfan

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.............Someone was posting about 6 gallon torpedo kegs the other day... I am considering picking up (2) of them when I scale to ten gallon batches. I see them as easier to handle and compatible with my fermentation chamber. I could harvest yeast from them too and I don't worry about fancy dry hop rigs......


Supposedly More Beer is going to offer a "big mouth" version of the Torpedos, maybe this summer. I'd hold out for them if you can.

Why No Higher End Picnic Taps? (post 253)
 

Cider123

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New $249 conical from Northern Brewer:


Does anyone have any info on this conical? I was looking for a ss bucket and saw this. Close in price to the SSBT, but has the bottom ball valve and sturdier handles from what I can see.
 

Yesfan

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Does anyone have any info on this conical? I was looking for a ss bucket and saw this. Close in price to the SSBT, but has the bottom ball valve and sturdier handles from what I can see.

I think the Delta is a better buy personally. They look identical, but Delta is cheaper and offers a thermowell and thermometer which the Reactor lacks.

Delta Ferm Tank
 

Civilian

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Great information everyone, you all helped me also decide on the FermZilla Tri-Conical - 27 L - Gen 3. Now the wait begins!
 

toxdoc49

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How many brews do you have fermenting at a time? I currently have (4) 7 gallon ss brew buckets going right now. That would be $2200 in conicals. Lol. I have no experience in conicals but I look at all the pieces and I think a nightmare to clean. I don’t even like cleaning the one port on my brew bucket. I brew 10 gallon batches so the thought of dumping that to a single fermenter is interesting and setting up glycol instead of my now 3 freezers is appealing, but I have a lot of flexibility with the 5 fermenters I have. I can also throw them in the laundry sink to clean pretty easy. I wouldn’t mind having a dry hop port but can live without and could probably rig one up if I cared enough. I am sure if I had the full conical setup I would make it my process and be quite happy, but I would get the cf15 to make it worth it.

another thought is I could barely move a cf10 full. So do you have to brew right next to where you ferment, or I guess you could fill buckets, carry, and dump.
I am interested in moving to 10 gallon brew batches; can you tell me what your setup is? Thanks. I just use glass carboys and stainless steel mash tuns/boil kettles
 

OakIslandBrewery

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I am interested in moving to 10 gallon brew batches; can you tell me what your setup is? Thanks. I just use glass carboys and stainless steel mash tuns/boil kettles
Everyone has their own system preferences so I can only comment on my own. For ten gallon batches I use a converted 120 quart cooler as a mashtun; it has a slotted manifold with outside valve on the bottom and a spray head in the lid for sparging. I use a converted 20-gallon water heater for mash water. The boil kettle is a 25 gallon stainless steel pot. My fermenter is the Spike CF10. For wort chilling I use a plate chiller. With my system I use pumps and hose for all transfers. All of my beer is kegged.

If I were to do it over again I'd look at one of those all in one systems. A whole lot less equipment and as I've read here lots of folks using them. When I started building my current system those AIO systems hadn't been in popular use or weren't available.

I hope this helps you. I'd read more about other folks here and their preferred systems, everyone has something to share.

Good Luck!
 

toxdoc49

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Everyone has their own system preferences so I can only comment on my own. For ten gallon batches I use a converted 120 quart cooler as a mashtun; it has a slotted manifold with outside valve on the bottom and a spray head in the lid for sparging. I use a converted 20-gallon water heater for mash water. The boil kettle is a 25 gallon stainless steel pot. My fermenter is the Spike CF10. For wort chilling I use a plate chiller. With my system I use pumps and hose for all transfers. All of my beer is kegged.

If I were to do it over again I'd look at one of those all in one systems. A whole lot less equipment and as I've read here lots of folks using them. When I started building my current system those AIO systems hadn't been in popular use or weren't available.

I hope this helps you. I'd read more about other folks here and their preferred systems, everyone has something to share.

Good Luck!
Thank you. I was considering one of the all in one systems; it does seem that those have come a long way. I will look at those systems.
 

OakIslandBrewery

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My system takes up a lot more space than an AIO would so that would be a major consideration with your new system. I'm not sure what the capacity would be on those systems. Scan through HBT and you'll find lots of info. You'll still need a fermenter of course. Not sure AIO means fermenting too but I could be wrong. Brewing, fermenting and storage/serving, all in one would certainly be nice!
 

odie

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You can harvest from a bucket just fine.

Conical is easier...but not $1000 easier.
 

Spivey24

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I am interested in moving to 10 gallon brew batches; can you tell me what your setup is? Thanks. I just use glass carboys and stainless steel mash tuns/boil kettles
I have the Grainfather G40, an electric hoist above it and Anvil stainless bucket fermenters. Since I brew in the garage and ferment in the basement, the fermenters need to be something I can lift and carry. For the G40, it is a nice piece of hardware and software, but the basket has a bit of a design flaw when doing 10 gallon batches so I switched to a bag. Easier to clean and less mess. Maybe the G70 would have been better option.
 

Brooothru

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You can harvest from a bucket just fine.

Conical is easier...but not $1000 easier.

True. But the bling!!! I just can't get enough of the BLING!!!.

No, really. I do love stainless steel. Like everybody else, when I got into this 'hobby' over 40 years ago, I started out with buckets and carboys, eventually bought a Brew Bucket, advanced to a conical, graduated to a unitank, followed by a glycol chiller. Yeah, big bucks $$$, but I absolutely love brewing. I probably like brewing beer more than drinking beer. And I absolutely love drinking beer.

Everybody has a hobby. Some have an obsession. Golf, hunting, boating, aviation, RVs, exotic cars, home brewing. All can be expensive. Ask me how I know. At least now at my current stage in life I've down-sized and focused my attention on only two. O.K., occasionally more than two, but they're mere dalliances when compared to brewing. It's only money, and I'm likely not taking any of it with me anyway.
 

bike2brew

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Just added a 7 gallon SS bucket to the brew kitchen. Learned while sanitizing prior to production it does not lift so easily into place like the 3.5 gal. I am able to handle approx 3 gal of wort and then top it off while it is in place. LOL. Still figuring out how I got old without noticing it.
Hops Kitchen Brewing (upgraded).jpg
 

Brooothru

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Just added a 7 gallon SS bucket to the brew kitchen. Learned while sanitizing prior to production it does not lift so easily into place like the 3.5 gal. I am able to handle approx 3 gal of wort and then top it off while it is in place. LOL. Still figuring out how I got old without noticing it. View attachment 810966
it's hard to compete with bling

Oh, GREAT! Now you've given me a serious case of Bucket Envy with that 3 gallon SS Bucket.

I've got the exact same 7 gallon Brew Bucket as well as 7 gallon Chronical and Unitank. Every brew day (or more correctly, the day after brew day) my aching back has to remind the rest of my "7" decades-old aching body that a smaller volume fermenter might be a wise expenditure of retirement funds. I have been lusting after the Spike Flex+ for a while, knowing that I could do small batch ferments less than 5 gallons without sacrificing glycol temperature control and 1 bar pressure capability for spunding. Shhh... don't let my Ss BrewTech gear know. They're quite jealous.

Smaller batch size means more opportunities to brew different beers. Plus lately I've been consuming less of the beer I brew and end up dumping the bottom ¼ keg to make room in the pipeline, or transferring to smaller 1~3 gallon kegs if the beer in the 5 gallon keg is still tasting and pouring good.

I'm also considering fermenting in a modified Sankey sixtel keg fitted with a 4" TC lid. There are several on the market, and I've got all the TC fittings from my 8 gallon kegmenter to turn it into a fully temperature controlled, pressure regulated small batch fermenter, and even a serving keg. Half the cost of a Spike Flex+, but only a fraction of the bling. If only it were polished steel with a bottom dump valve...
 

Murph4231

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@Brooothru you sound a lot like me. I enjoy brewing as much or more than drinking it. Even the 7 decade thing with over 30 yrs brewing and making things. I down sized to no more than 5 gal. I made a 1 1/2 gal stainless fermenter that I enjoy making one gal things. And they go away faster so I can make more. When you've done this as long as some of us older brewers, you acquire bling along the way.
 

faithie999

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Bling is the thing, but don’t rack your back. It’s definitely a balancing act, and slowly I’m coming around to the notion that “downsizing” my batch volumes is the path forward if I’m going to keep enjoying this hobby.
I'll be 71 in a couple of months. I've started thinking about the things I won't be able to do when I'm 80: carry bags of softener salt up the steps into the house then down the steps to the basement, shoveling snow, carrying a 10-gal stockpot with 6 gal of wort from the deck where it was boiled and cooled into the kitchen and up onto the counter for siphoning into the fermenter, carrying the full fermenter down to the basement, ....
 

toxdoc49

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I have the Grainfather G40, an electric hoist above it and Anvil stainless bucket fermenters. Since I brew in the garage and ferment in the basement, the fermenters need to be something I can lift and carry. For the G40, it is a nice piece of hardware and software, but the basket has a bit of a design flaw when doing 10 gallon batches so I switched to a bag. Easier to clean and less mess. Maybe the G70 would have been better option.
Thank you l; I looked those components up. Nice system and thanks for sharing. It looks like you get what you pay for using that system. I will explore that; and add in the cost for getting a 220/240 volt line.
I am lucky to have the space and the option for adding the correct voltage for this system. This certainly adds a level of convenience to brewing 10 gallon batches. I’m happy I started with basic equipment and learned some things on my own and did things manually to understand the basic brewing process. I can feel better about potentially upgrading, feeding the addiction!
 

lindastops

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Yup, great to plan for the future, and a future that includes brewing!
Everyone has their own system preferences so I can only comment on my own. For ten gallon batches I use a converted 120 quart cooler as a mashtun; it has a slotted manifold with outside valve on the bottom and a spray head in the lid for sparging. I use a converted 20-gallon water heater for mash water. The boil kettle is a 25 gallon stainless steel pot. My fermenter is the Spike CF10. For wort chilling I use a plate chiller. With my system I use pumps and hose for all transfers. All of my beer is kegged.

If I were to do it over again I'd look at one of those all in one systems. A whole lot less equipment and as I've read here lots of folks using them. When I started building my current system those AIO systems hadn't been in popular use or weren't available.

I hope this helps you. I'd read more about other folks here and their preferred systems, everyone has something to share.

Good Luck!
I do 10 gallon batches with the Blickmann 2 kettle Brew Easy Classic k rims system. I have a cf10 fermenter. One of the best reasons for the conical, for me, is the CIP ball. I tried other fermenters over the years and this is, hands down for me the best option available today.
 

toxdoc49

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I do 10 gallon batches with the Blickmann 2 kettle Brew Easy Classic k rims system. I have a cf10 fermenter. One of the best reasons for the conical, for me, is the CIP ball. I tried other fermenters over the years and this is, hands down for me the best option available today.
It also looks like the CF10 can hold more volume than the anvil stainless bucker fermenters. I actually like the idea of the bucket fermenters as they are lower priced and of course you can have more than one to keep the brewing going! But the CF10 is more expensive. Worth it I am sure. Choices choices!
 

warx

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I went back and forth on a larger fermenter but in the end I just got a second 7.9gal plastic bucket for my mostly British ales. If I have a big batch I do it in two buckets - each of which I can lift and place inside my $60 used chest freezer for temp control. I have a spigot on them and cask, keg or bottle directly from it. Most expensive part was buying a second iSpindel. Does give me the option of trying two different yeasts also. Two of these large buckets do fit inside my 7cu.ft chest freezer with one on top of the compressor and it must use the three piece airlock which is not as tall as the S shaped one. Inside the freezer is a 40W bucket heater so the inkbird can raise and lower temps. It's wifi so I can program it for d-rest etc.
 

WesBrew

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I'll be 71 in a couple of months. I've started thinking about the things I won't be able to do when I'm 80: carry bags of softener salt up the steps into the house then down the steps to the basement, shoveling snow, carrying a 10-gal stockpot with 6 gal of wort from the deck where it was boiled and cooled into the kitchen and up onto the counter for siphoning into the fermenter, carrying the full fermenter down to the basement, ....
Convert to Electric and brew inside!
 

OakIslandBrewery

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I love my CF10, glad I made the purchase. As WesBrew stated, it is easy to clean. Mine sits near the brewery sink so I can run a hose to wash down the inside the hose or use a CIP ball. I wash down the big crud into a bucket under the bottom valve, then take everything apart for a deep cleaning and soak. Everything including the body gets sprayed with sanitizer before assembly.
 
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